Matthew Lickona noon, July 29
Trouble with the Curve
There’s trouble with the terminally cute script in this, Clint Eastwood’s first actor-for-hire job since In the Line of Fire (1993). Clint stars as a corroded baseball scout with three months left on his contract. A severe case of macular degeneration forces him to make every day take-your-estranged-child-to-work day. Clint’s voice has long taken on the timbre of wind whistling through an empty beer can; as his seeing-eye daughter, Amy Adams acts as a formidable correlate to the throaty grouch. A love story between father and daughter isn’t enough of a well-born target for fledgling screenwriter Randy Brown to aim at, hence the unnecessary romantic subplot between Adams and Justin Timberlake. You’ll be feeling around in the dark for a scan button during the couple’s two dance routines, but alas. And a dismissive third act flashback aimed at explaining away decades of bad blood is as formulaic as it is tasteless. Robert Lorenz, Clint’s regular second-unit man, receives sole director’s credit, but one glance at the film’s formal design and thematic obsessions makes it clear who called the shots. Clint’s display of friendship and loyalty is highly commendable. The same can’t be said for the finished product. A solid supporting cast — John Goodman, Ed Lauter, Robert Patrick — is sent to the showers. 2012.